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Vouchers 4 Veggies - EatSF

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Food, Health, Nutrition, Public Health

Mission: To provide healthy food vouchers to vulnerable residents through a network of community-based organizations and clinics, thereby supporting health and wellness, fostering community, and reducing food deserts by sustaining local food vendors.

Results: Since launching in early 2015, we have partnered with over 200 community-based organizations to assist more than 18,000 low-income adults and children in eating healthier diets and improving health, with 99% of participants eating more fruits and vegetables, 91% eating less unhealthy food, 98% reporting higher confidence in making healthy choices on a budget, and 94% reporting improved health status.

Vouchers 4 Veggies - EatSF (V4V) has infused more than 1.5 million dollars in produce purchases into low-income neighborhoods - creating a demand for fruits and vegetables, thereby reducing food deserts and increasing produce supply for everyone.

In response to the additional challenge created by COVID-19, V4V leveraged an existing network of community-based organizations and clinics to swiftly and effectively respond to the growing food security needs in San Francisco. In partnership with the San Francisco Department of Public Health and other partners, we were able to work with 157 partnering agencies, to distribute over 100,000+ vouchers to 6000+ households, targeting populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Target demographics: low-income individuals and families

Direct beneficiaries per year: 5,000+ low-income families and individuals

Geographic areas served: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boulder, Cumberland, and beyond!

Programs: Vouchers 4 Veggies - EatSF fruit and vegetable voucher program

Community Stories

35 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

EatSF is a great opportunity to join and help spread awareness of healthier eating habits. I joined the organization about three months ago. I have helped so many expecting mothers with receiving more resources in their daily lives.

Brenda W.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The vouchers 4 veggies are the best thing to happen to the Bayveiw Hunter Point Community our residents love having them available. Their nutrition value help teaches a better healthier way of eating, also for low-income residents it adds a little extra help to their budget each month.
Thank You for making lives healthier !
Resident Services at All Hallows Gardens Apartments

Crystal L.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a nurse at the general hospital and work with Vouchers 4 Veggies to help our patients with diabetes. What I love about the program is that it allows me to help all of the patients that come to our clinic. The application process is quick easy and the staff have been very supportive, flexible, and responsive to our patients' needs.

John M.15

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Vouchers for Veggies is great. I work to bring healthy food into the Tenderloin neighborhood and my work would be very difficult to do without the job that Vouchers for Veggies does. Vouchers For Veggies provides Tenderloin residents with the funds they need to purchase the healthy food. Without these vouchers it is likely that residents here in the Tenderloin wouldn't be eating so much healthy food. The work they do is truly a service to the community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am very grateful to be able to partner with the EatSF program at Black Infant Health. Our pregnant moms speak highly of the program and the impact it has had on their families’ grocery budget and selection of healthy food within the home. When I was pregnant, I received these vouchers through WIC and I look forward to shopping with them each month.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As Social Workers in Supportive Housing, we have partnered with The EatSF (Vouchers 4 Veggies) Program and it has had a positive impact on the tenants we serve. The fruit and vegetable vouchers enable folks to purchase healthy food at local stores within the neighborhood. Every month, tenants express their gratitude for the program and talk about how helpful it is for their food budgets. One tenant highlighted that he can buy fresh blueberries and avocados each month, which he otherwise could likely not afford. The staff at EatSF are passionate about their work and are supportive and responsive in making sure the program runs smoothly. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with them and offer this great program to the tenants who live here.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

When we introduced Eat SF program to our community, our senior residents showed great interest that they constantly came to our office to ask the enrollment date! It turned out that not all of the interested residents got it due to the unexpected popularity of the program. Those who got it for the first six months were thrilled to receive the vouchers and they shared that the experience of using the voucher for the first time as pleasant.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We are so fortunate to have the EatSF program available to residents living in our housing. Residents are now able to add a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to their diets, something that previously their fixed- income budgets really didn't allow. Local markets have expanded their fresh fruit/vegetable offerings, which helps our residents to have easier access to more healthful food selections. EatSF program staff offer great support to our Services staff who coordinate paperwork and voucher distribution. We feel so lucky that we were invited to participate with this wonderful resource.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am currently a EatSF Intern and have loved working on this program for the last 6 months. EatSF is an intentional, client-centered program that not only has strong impacts on participants but also the surrounding community of San Francisco. The vouchers help lift some of the financial burden individuals and families have to purchasing the fresh fruits and vegetables they need for their health and contribute to the economic growth of the local community.

While working, I have loved hearing the stories and enthusiasm participants, vendors, and site staff have about the program. EatSF’s strong focus on equity, food justice, and access, and it’s partnerships with various community-based organizations make EatSF truly successful.

Personally, it has been very valuable working on a program that directly serves San Francisco’s most vulnerable and aids in their overall health and wellbeing.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am currently a Fall 2019 Intern for the EatSF Program at Zuckerberg General. EatSF is a prime example of how city programs can improve the well-being of its community members. With the vouchers, participants are now encouraged to purchase fresh fruits and veggies without the extreme financial burden it can cause. I am glad I could be a part of EatSF's fight against food insecurity and thankful for the opportunity to leave an impact on the community I was raised in.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am currently a Fall 2019 intern working with EatSF. I am elated to be on board. This program connects parents, children, and families with the fruits and vegetables they need. Families share that they are thankful to have these nutritious foods in their home that they otherwise would not have picked up. I also find it lovely that a significant portion of families use their vouchers at the Heart of the City Farmer's Market. There is currently a solid base of participating food stores around the city, thanks to the dedication of this organization. The members of the EatSF team, and the various WIC clinics that we are connected with, have helped make my time here engaging, welcoming and productive. I am full of experience and knowledge I will carry with me as I continue work within the world of public health in SF. Wonderful program.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Patients who receive the Vouchers 4 Veggies, love the program. They are engaging in their medical care and can also attest to the benefits of the program. They find that they are able to use the vouchers for fruits and vegetables that they would have limited. This in return is helping them invest in their health and well being. Patients mentioned how they didn't realize how spending the $20 or $40 per month could impact them, but with these vouchers they could see the difference. With the increasing cost of rent and food, patients who are on fixed incomes can feel the difference of the $20 or $40. Patients are so grateful for this program and only speak highly of it.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

By offering EatSF at our clinic, I was personally able to hear about how it impacted patients' health. Families have expressed how it influenced them make healthier choices by having an allocated amount to spend on fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits. Patients who have never been to their local farmers' market due to uncertainty of how to shop for produce and high prices were able to use their vouchers to buy seasonal produce and continue to go after the program's completion. Patients mentioned how EatSF vouchers alleviated food budget constraints by not needing to choose between spending money for food or paying for household necessities. Families who had received the promotional vouchers found them beneficial during unforeseen situations. Patients do not want this program to stop and I would love for it to be expanded for use for the entire city. It was a token of kindness that was warmly received by all and hopefully it can continue to impact many more.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Our farmers market nonprofit has partnered with EatSF for two seasons. In addition to providing vulnerable community members with access to fresh fruits and vegetables, local farmers also benefit from the vouchers. It's been wonderful to see these vouchers exchanged for big bags of fresh produce! I am so grateful for EatSF's work and am excited to see their programs and client base expand in the future.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've been working at EatSF as an intern since May of this year. It has been a pleasure to serve San Francisco's most vulnerable populations in this role; what better way to help people obtain the fruits and vegetables that they need than by giving them the funds to do it? EatSF does this, and in doing so also provides folks with the food security that many of us often take for granted.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Vouchers 4 Veggies was introduced this year to our residence that struggle to purchase fruits and vegetables our residence are on a tight budget. 92 Residence received 6 months of vouchers making a big impact on there eating habits. Thank you the program made a life changing impact.

Richard K.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Vouchers 4 Veggies - EatSF has proved to be a very responsive and engaged program helping to augment and enrich the lives of its participants! I have been working with the EatSF staff since 2017 and together we have connected three senior properties in the Westlake/MacArthur Park area of Los Angeles. I have seen that the V4V program benefits our tenants in various ways, including the obvious financial assistance that is brought to genuinely low-income seniors who struggle with leading a decent quality of life due to financial, physical, language, and other types of barriers.

The program helps incentivize its clients to explore their local participating neighborhood markets for new forms of produce and nutrients which will help improve their overall diets and health! Markets benefit economically by an increased amount of produce sales and/or by gaining new shoppers to their stores!

It has been a pleasure working with everyone (specific names withheld) and I hope that the V4V program continues to expand and that our non-profit has future opportunities to engage additional low-income seniors throughout Los Angeles in the Vouchers 4 Veggies program!

Advisor

Rating: 5

I love that Mission Housing has the opportunity to build a relationship and are privileged to distribute the EatSF Vouchers to our residents. Our residents are so appreciative that they can participate in such a wonderful program. This opportunity really has brought our diverse community together. I love seeing the smiling faces at the beginning of each month when our residents pick up their EatSF vouchers. I like the fact that we are able to connect and have the chance to hear their needs each month. The distribution system has evolved and it has been made effortless to receive and distribute the vouchers. This is an excellent program and Mission Housing hopes that it continues for years to come. Thank you EatSF staff and community members!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am an intern with the EatSF team and cannot say enough about how incredible the EatSF team and program is. The EatSF team cares deeply about improving the lives of vulnerable residents in San Francisco and LA and it shows in their commitment to ensuring the program best serves the needs of those communities. The team is consistently monitoring and looking to improve/expand the program, strengthening relationships with partners, and identifying groups that are most in need of access to fruits and vegetables. The EatSF program has also achieved incredible outcomes in its first 3 years of program implementation -- the program has infused $1.3 million dollars in produce purchases into low-income neighborhoods and has increased participant fruit and vegetable intake by one daily serving. In addition, participants consistently praise the program and its impact on their ability to purchase more healthy foods and improve their health. As an intern, I have had the opportunity to see how this program benefits not only individual participants, but also distribution site staff, vendors, and entire communities. EatSF truly embodies a GREAT non-profit.

Mad D.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am the resident service coordinator for a low-income senior and disabled supportive housing site in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco.
It can not be overstated how helpful this program has been for the tenants here. The program enables them to access healthy nutrition options in the neighborhood that might otherwise be cost prohibitive. One of the favorite options to exchange the vouchers is the wonderful Heart of the City Farmers Market in the Civic Center plaza, about three minutes walk from the building.
The clients response to this program far exceeded expectations. The appreciation and enthusiasm for the program is heartwarming and has helped me as a staff member build a rapport w/ tenants that might otherwise not engage w/ tenant services.
Further, the paperwork involved is quite manageable.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Hello! I work for the City and County of San Francisco, one of the permanent supportive housing sites, specifically for seniors, 55 years old and older. the program is housed in a single room occupancy (SRO) hotel, with 85 units, with only cooking access of microwaves, crock pots, and rice cookers. Like many residents in SRO's who are on fixed and very low incomes, obtaining fresh fruits and vegetables is often a choice not to get, since the amount of food verses the cost, usually folks will opt for more filling foods. Having EatSF as a partner to provide the means for residents to obtain those fresh fruits and vegetables, has been a wonderful resource. With half of the residents in the building participating, it's wonderful to be able to bring better nutrition and for many folks, the treat of being about to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables, without taking a hit in the pocket book. The EatSF staff have made it a simple process and have been super supportive, which is greatly appreciated. Such a wonderful service, that makes a huge difference to those living with low income, and often challenging access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Thank you EatSF!!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My building houses low income seniors and formerly chronically homeless seniors, and the EatSF program has been a wonderful addition to our community. My residents are able to buy things that they previously considered a luxury, like berries, at our local markets. The Farmer's Market is where the majority of the vouchers are spent, and my residents are so grateful to have the extra money each month so they can eat healthy and delicious produce. On my end, the staff at EatSF has always been really responsive and great to work with. Thank you, everyone!

Advisor

Rating: 5

I am a resident service coordinator at Mission Housing who helps distribute these vouchers. This program has helped a lot of the residents. Residents who don't usually participate in programs, will come out for this program and have told us that they enjoyed this program a lot. There are so many different stores that will accept these vouchers which will definitely expand in the upcoming years. They have also improved their distribution method as well to make it easier for participants and partners. I'm glad a program like this exists because we can see the direct impact right away.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Very Great Program, my tenants love it! They can use it all around SOMA

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a property manager in San Francisco, this program helps our tenants a lot. They all love it. This program is bringing them lots of benefits, such as healthier body, tenants gathering, and so on. This is one of the best programs I have met in the bay area.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EATSF program has been a blessing to so many seniors at Dr. George Davis Senior Services. So many of our seniors in the Bayview area have a hard time making their food last to the end of the month. This program has filled some of that void but more importantly has given the seniors an opportunity to consume healthy foods in replacement of poor nutritional foods. The seniors look forward to fresh produce options each month. Thank you EATSF

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I wanted to share two client stories that speak to the effectiveness and support your program has offered to date:

I was attending a group session last week to distribute the additional vouchers you’re offering during May and June and witnessed a participant bring in organic strawberries he had just purchased across the street at the UN plaza farmer’s market. He had used one of his vouchers to make the purchase and was able to buy enough to share the strawberries with fellow participants in the group. He spoke about how easy it was to use the vouchers and that it gave him a good feeling to be able to purchase and share a healthy alternative to others in need. It also encouraged two more eligible clients to sign up for the program on the spot.

The second story involves a Spanish speaking only client who supports 3 other family members. While assisting him in filling out the pre-program survey with the support of an interpreter, I learned how he used his food stamps that equaled about two weeks’ worth of food for him and his family and how he stretched that two weeks into 3-3 1/2 weeks’ worth of food. The addition of the supplemental EatSF program is allowing him to provide for himself and his family for the entire month now.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am the Support Services Director of the Pacific Bay Inn Hotel and by offering EatSF at our Hotel, the clients have personally told me how it has greatly impacted them on many levels. The clients report how EatSF ensures them of eating healthy, along with providing them with healthy fruits and vegetables for the month. Our clients consistently come in on a monthly basis to take advantage of the vouchers and they express how it has influenced them make healthier choices by having an allocated amount to spend on fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits. Clients who have never been to their local farmers' market due to uncertainty of how to shop for produce and high prices were able to use their vouchers to buy seasonal produce and continue to go after the program's completion. Unfortunately the program is revamping and not issuing vouchers at this time, but our clients are coming by asking when is it going to start up again. I really appreciate the remarkable services EatSF staff has offered and congratulate them for the great impact it's had on our clients here at the Pacific Bay Inn. Thank you all so much!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am the Health and Wellness ambassador for the Hunterview family center where I have helped many of our community members sign up for the Eat SF program. Since this program has started it has increased the consumption of healthy foods but also helping these family’s to have enuff food to last throughout the month. Listening to clients talk about how much there children and there hole family in general eats more fruits and veggies thanks to the Eat SF program is an amazing thing. and I hope that this service will continue to be available because these family’s really benefit from it.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The residents in my building complain about one problem with EatSF-they want more of it!

EatSF has filled a gap for our residents. Many of our residents don't qualify for food stamps, but are on small, fixed budgets. Our residents rave about how great it is to be able to choose the fruit or veg they want.

Residents have also connected to how EatSF is helping the neighborhood economy because they create new dollars being spent in locally owned stores.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I serve a non-profit organization dedicated to housing many people with physical and/or mental disabilities who are also living way below the federal poverty line. This program has been life changing for many of my residents in the Tenderloin. Known as a food desert, tenants living in the Tenderloin district do not have much choice when it comes to what type of food they have access to. Many of them have health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or other diagnosis which require them eat healthier, and often times more expensive, foods. They are, too often, faced with the choice of following their doctor's recommendations and buying only one healthy item or buying a whole week's worth of junk food. In this day in age, our residents should have the right to enjoy quality food and not to have to decide between having a meal every day of the week versus being able to afford only one plate of veggies. I can't tell you how many times residents have come up and asked about this program and how now they can control their diabetes better or can enjoy more nutritious meals because they actually have money to spare for a decent bag of groceries. I hope we are able to continue our partnership with EatSF and improve the quality of life for our residents. Their coordinators are great staff that truly listen to the needs of their participants and work with organizations such as ours to provide quality access. Many thanks from Mercy Housing and its occupants.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This has been an absolutely fantastic program for the patients I helped sign up in clinic. It's extremely well run and allows patients to take charge of their own health. It has made my patients more willing to try new fruits and vegetables and helps them form new healthy eating habits. The extra flexibility the vouchers give has been especially impactful to my patients on a tight budget. There are many stores that accept the vouchers and a wide time range is given to use them which is very helpful to people that have difficulty attending pantries that have limited hours. I really hope to see this program continue because it has been a tremendous help to members of the community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EAT SF is a lifeline for our clients who struggle to eat healthy meals. I work at a non-profit health clinic with low income people who are living with chronic illnesses. These people are SoMa and Tenderloin residents, whose primary source of food can be unhealthy items from the local corner store. For clients who are often disabled or are living with a life altering illness, it can be difficult to travel far (outside of the food deserts) to purchase healthy food from a large grocery store. It can also be expensive to eat nutritional food individuals living on a fixed or low income in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. EAT SF has helped this issue by increasing accessibility to healthy food for people in our communities. Clients now have money to budget for fruits and vegetables to promote a nutritional diet for many health compromised people. Many corner stores who sell produce in the Tenderloin and SoMa areas (which are near client's apartments and SROs) are participating by accepting these vouchers and making it more accessible and affordable. In addition, clients can go to the Civic Center farmer's market to utilize their vouchers as well. EAT SF has also been very helpful by not only supplying monetary assistance but also educating people about budgeting, nutrition, and meal preparation. We have over 100 people coming in monthly to pick up these vouchers. Our community depends on EAT SF for sustenance. Please look into this resource for your clients if you haven't already!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This program is helping to address barriers to accessing nutritious foods. The patients I have enrolled at the clinic where I work have been so grateful to receive vouchers to buy the fruits and vegetables we recommend they eat to lead healthier lives. For most patients this program makes it easier to eat healthier, and for some it makes it a possibility they couldn't afford before. The educational materials enables participants to learn budgeting tips to make their fruit and veggie habit more affordable and makes it easier to introduce others to a new way of eating. As a health educator, I am happy to be able to offer this program to patients with chronic disease working towards their health goals.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I would like to say that since EatSF program started in 2015 in Tenderloin neighborhood that there's less people going hungry. That their able to afford and eat sustainable fruits and vegetables.
The nonprofit agency that I work for participants use and relay on these vouchers to be able to have something to eat that's nutritious . Being able to eat something that's wholesome gives them a sense well being .
I can see the difference in each individual that receive EatSF vouchers, how important it is for them to be able to buy food that they could not normally afford on their budget. Being mindful that their budget is quiet low . I am grateful and honored that EatSF partners with this nonprofit in the Tenderloin community.